MonsalDale (approx 5 miles)

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Map: OL24 Peak District - White Peak
Start: SK 197 698 - Ashford-in-the-Water - junction of Church Street and Greaves Lane, by the Ashford Arms. An alternative starting point is Monsal Head - SK 185 715 or White Lodge Car Park - SK 170 706
Route: Monsal Dale is one of the loveliest valleys in the Peak District, from Ashford this walk follows the River Wye mainly along woodland paths. From Monsal Head the route leads through Headstone Tunnel on the Monsal Trail, before leading back to Ashford via field paths.
Links to Route Files: Ordnance Survey OS Maps online (may only available to OSMaps subscribers) or .gpx (exported from OS Maps app on Android device - can be imported into many devices).

More info:

route profile
Refreshments: There are a couple of pubs and a tea room in Ashford and pub, tea room and often an ice cream van at Monsal Head. We enjoyed vising both the tea room in Ashford and the Monsal Head Hotel.

ChurchStreet, Ashford-in-the-Water The starting point for our walk was Ashford-in-the-Water (but you could also start at Monsal Head or White Lodge Car Park near Taddington).

From the Ashford Arms, walk west along Church Street, passing the village shop and Aisseford Tea Rooms. Just beyond the church
Sheepwash Bridge, Ashford-in-the-Water bear left to cross the Grade 2* listed Sheepwash Bridge. Once across the bridge turn right to follow the A6 west. After about 270 yards cross the road and follow
minor road on the left (signposted for Sheldon) the minor road on the left (signposted for Sheldon). Walk along this road for about a further 270 yards then follow a short path leading to a kissing gate. Go through the gate and walk along a grassy path by the river to
path between Ashford-in-the-Water and Great Shacklow Wood the gate pictured. Go through this gate and carry on along the path which stays fairly close to the river, though it doesn't follow all the meanders. Pass through a wide wooden gate
path between Ashford-in-the-Water and Great Shacklow Wood ... and then this gateway before coming to this
derelict water mill a derelict water mill. The path runs to the left of the mill buildings - but we were interested in exploring - so walked between the buildings and the river. We were able to re-join the main path beyond the last building. There is more information about these ruins here.
weir on River Wye above derelict mill A little further up the river you pass the weir used to help control the flow of water to feed the mill headrace. Upstream of this there are mill ponds. After passing these
Great Shacklow Wood ... the path climbs away from the river, through woodland, which in May was carpeted with wild garlic. At a meeting of paths, continue straight ahead - a finger post indicates White Lodge.
Great Shacklow Wood The climb up through the woods was relatively gentle, the descent is a little steeper. Go through the gate in the photograph and bear right, again following the sign for White Lodge.
Deep Dale The path curves round and joins the foot of Deep Dale.
Deep Dale This stile was particularly awkward to climb due to the wooden bar - and on the other side, the path was like a stream bed - again follow the sign for White Lodge.
Deep Dale However, the path very quickly became dry - after a short distance pass through a kissing gate and
White Lodge Car Park the path emerges at White Lodge Car Park. Walk across the car park, down steps to
A6 opposite White Lodge Car Park cross the A6 and go through the gap in the stone wall and down steps.
Monsal Dale The path leads down to a stream, which is crossed by stepping stones, and then a stile. Shortly after you enter the woodland there are two paths off to the left - but continue ahead, now following signs for Monsal Head. The path follows a gentle curve, from heading roughly north, to heading east, whilst the river meanders at varying distance from the path.
Weir on River Wye, Monsal Dale Just before you reach the weir pictured, cross the river via the narrow footbridge.
Monsal Dale The path on the other side leads you uphill through woodland
emerging from the woods at Monsal Head emerging from the woods at Monsal Head.
view up the River Wye from Monsal Head Admire the spectacular view - and enjoy refreshment at either the tea rooms, the pub or the ice cream from the van which is usually parked by the roadside.
stepped path leading from Monsal Head to Monsal Trail Go through the gap in the wall and down the steps leading north, following signs for Viaduct and Monsal Trail.
finger post on Monsal Trail At the foot of the steep path, turn left on the Monsal Trail to walk through Headstone Tunnel (following the sign pointing to Bakewell).
Headstone You emerge from the tunnel into a cutting, shortly after which
listening post, Monsal Trail you will see (and hopefully stop and listen) to one of a series of listening posts along the Trail - select one of the 8 audio tracks and turn the handle.
leaving the Monsal Trail Take the first path off the trail on the right, signposted for Ashford. You climb down steps
near A685 towards MonsalDale to take a path through a series of fields and through or over stiles. Cross the narrow road, Longstone Lane, continuing through fields
between Monsal Trail and Ashford-in-the-Water then through a gate and between woods on the left and small industrial units on the right. Another gate, another field
between Monsal Trail and Ashford-in-the-Water and then over the stile next to this barn, following the narrow path between stone walls, up to ...
Greaves Lane, Ashford-in-the-Water . Greaves Lane. Cross the road and bear left to climb steps to a short, narrow path between wooden fences.
Vicarage Lane, Ashford-in-the-Water Turn left to walk down Vicarage Lane
Cross Hill, Ashford-in-the-Water and then left again down Hill Cross. At the foot of this road, turn right on to Greaves Lane to take you back to the start (you could have followed Greaves Lane from first meeting it - but there is a greater to walk distance with no pavement at the side of the road).

If you started the walk at White Lodge or Monsal Head, click here.

All text and images © Graham Dean, May, 2019.

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